Pakistani security forces targeted militant strongholds throughout the
northwest Thursday and say they killed 66 Taliban fighters in a 24-hour
The military said in a statement that the fighting occurred in various areas of Malakand and Bannu as well as South Waziristan -- the stronghold of Pakistani Taliban leader Baitullah Mehsud.
The tribal area of South Waziristan is 200 kilometers southwest of Swat Valley. In Swat, security forces have been battling Taliban fighters since the end of April, when militants violated a peace deal and advanced to within 100 kilometers of the capital.
Top military spokesman Major-General Athar Abbas says once the military concludes its operations in Swat, the offensive could shift to South Waziristan.
He says the current clashes in South Waziristan are merely retaliation for recent attacks on local army posts by as many as 400 militants.
Meanwhile in southwestern Pakistan, authorities say one person was killed and at least 35 others wounded Thursday in an explosion on a passenger train in Baluchistan province.
The train was traveling between the cities of Quetta and Karachi.
Separately, police in Peshawar continued to search for more victims and clues from Tuesday's suicide bomb attack on the Pearl Continental luxury hotel.
No one has claimed responsibility for the attack, which killed at least nine people, including two foreign aid workers, and injured 70 others.
Peshawar, the capital of North West Frontier Province, remains on high alert and Pakistani officials have warned the public to expect more attacks in the future.